26 June 2018

A Mug For The '80s...

Here up at '80s Actual Towers, we're right mugs for all things 1980s, so in this post we've decided to up our mug status by looking at mugs. 1980s mugs, that is. We bought this new graffiti design in 1989, and the design continued to be wildly popular into the early 1990s. 'BUY BLITISH!' 'SAVE TREES EAT A BEAVER!' 'IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED CHEAT.' 'MICKEY MOUSE IS A RAT!' FABULOUS!

What about mugs reflecting crazes of the 1980s? Well, you couldn't find a better representation than the two 1981 mugs pictured below featuring the mighty Rubik's Cube. The Cube was one of the greatest success stories of the decade, sweeping into our lives in 1980 (or, more likely, 1981 - there was a shortage) and then taking those aforementioned lives over. Could we solve it? Our fascination was endless.

Sadly, I couldn't solve it and had to concede that it really was a 'mug's game'!

One of our very fave 1980s mug designs is this lovely pedestal 'Let's Break' design - with the cosily boiling kettle. There was also the same pic with a 'Have A Break' and 'Break Time' slogan. All three designs are still favourites for a comforting brew on a busy day up at '80s Actual Towers.

These mugs are also great for packet soups. Being slightly smaller than most, if you stir it up well you get a nice thick tasty slurp rather than the usual insipid powdery hot water.

Just remember to stir well and make sure the powder is fully dissolved - the rounded base makes it easy. YUM!

The wedding of Princes Charles and Lady Diana Spencer on 29 July, 1981, provoked a welter of souvenir merchandising. This mug seems particularly evocative. The newsprint quality of the photographs would never pass muster today.

Here's our old mate Henry's Cat with a very '80s message: 'Nothing succeeds like excess!' Absolutely!

Talking about famous cartoon cats, what about Garfield? From 1981 (in America) and 1983 (England) we were swamped with Garfield stuff.

And here's a word about Garfield mugs and general merchandising. If you have Garfield merchandise it will date from the 1980s at the earliest. If it says '1978' on it that's simply because it was the year when the character first appeared in American newspaper comic strips - was first copyrighted - and he looked liked this:

His appearance evolved during the 1980s and evidence of that evolvement is obvious from the merchandising. Jim Davis founded his own Garfield merchandising company, Paws Inc. in 1981, and that's when the flood of Garfield stuff began. He made his way to English shops a year or two later.

1978 being the first copyright date for Garfield, it was often used on subsequent merchandising. The same rule applies to the Pac-Man mug later in this blog post. It's dated '1980' because that was the year the character debuted, but the mug is actually from a couple of years later.

So, next time you nip onto eBay and see a Garfield mug - apparently from 1978, don't be fooled. It won't be. 

The mug featured here actually has two copright dates - 1978 and 1981!

Right, pressing on, we say 'qua qua, fa diddily qua qua' and meet our next mug... 

Yes it's Adam (with the 'D' authentically the wrong way round) and his Ants on this little beauty from 1981. Actually, we loved Adam. We think he made David Bowie - even in David's fab 1980 Ashes To Ashes video - look like Hilda Ogden. Adam had great street cred, and also great behind-the-bike-sheds-with-a-ciggie-and-a-transistor-radio cred. It's easy to go all tongue in cheek about it now, but I genuinely felt Adam was something of a marvel back in the early 1980s and I still treasure the memories. The music, the videos, the image... fantastic! 

And here's another larger-than-life 1980s celebrity - Mr T - BA Baracus himself - from the A Team. Some English TV critics were dubious about the show when it debuted here, but the kids loved it and it quickly assumed legendary status. 

This mug is simply very 1980s and very nice. Well I like it. It dates from 1986.

A must-have from Argos and a few other sources from around 1983 were these soup bowl mugs. Comfortingly country retro, these were wildly popular and, if your chosen '80s lifestyle was retro country chic, ideal for display in your kitchen. This is Scotch Broth, but many other designs were available, and they also came as plates, bowls and possibly woolly hats. I jest. I think. 

Another favourite - the Cadbury's chocolate block mug from 1983. Lovely with hot chocolate. And a couple of choc bickies... And maybe even a couple of bars of chocolate. I'd particularly like... 

... a Wispa bar! Bite it and believe it as the ads said. Scrummy!

Wanna be a yuppie? Yus, matey boots? Well, this 1984 mug is for you. This was before the hugely booming bit of the 1980s had really got underway, so the yuppie 'wants' seem a bit naff and feeble now. We still had three years to wait for Gordon Gekko.

Orville! Remember that chart-buster of late 1982 - Orville's Song? 'Orful, who is your very best friend?' 'You are.' 'I'm gonna help you mend your broken NECK!' That's what we sang. Hard-hearted gits, weren't we? But this is a very lovely mug, is it not?

And here he is, then! The one, the only, PAC-MAN! Remember the copyright date rule we discussed regarding Garfield? Well, this Kiln Craft mug contains the copyright date '1980' for the character, but the mug dates from around 1982.

The kettle never stops boiling at our place so we'll be revisiting the 1980s teatime soon...


Hélène said...

My 3 year-old just broke my dad's favourite 1989 "buy blitish" mug. In case you're selling yours or know where I could find the same one, I'm interested! Thank you.

Drew said...

Sorry to hear that! Sadly, we have three of the 1989 mugs, but they're all boxed and packed away somewhere (we don't know which box and there are dozens) as we were in the process of moving then found out my wife is ill. We're staying put for the time being but not unpacking as we still intend to move at some point. Otherwise, you would have been more than welcome to one of the mugs. Hope you find one. Ebay is a good place to try.

Megan McCarthy said...

Good morning, complete long shot but do you have one of the graffiti “buy blitish/ save trees eat beaver”…etc mugs for sale, or know where to try to source? I’ve tried online with no success.
Any help would be very appreciated.
Thanks so much for reading, here hoping

Drew said...

Hi, Megan! Sorry we can't help at the moment. We have three of the mugs, but we'd just packed everything to move house when my wife became ill. We don't know which box the mugs are in and, as we're still hoping to move, won't be unpacking the boxes (there are dozens of them!) yet. I do hope you manage to find one of the mugs. Ebay is a good place to keep watching or perhaps Etsy.